How The Jalen Carter News Could Impact NFL Draft Strategy

An empty podium at the NFL Combine.

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The 2023 NFL Draft is looming, and teams are beginning to strategize on how to better their respective teams. Analysts are projecting where the top prospects might land as well as which organizations could make moves to improve their positioning.

One of those top players is involved in controversy following a recent arrest warrant issued on the 1st of March. That news could have a major impact on how teams bargain in the early rounds.

Jalen Carter, a linebacker prospect from the University of Georgia, has been widely considered a top five pick, with some bold enough to predict his going No. 1 overall. That possibility may be off the table following recent reports.

Carter was issued an arrest warrant on Wednesday, just as the NFL Combine got underway. The defender was noticeably absent from the event as this recent news came to light.

That arrest is linked to a fatal car crash that involved a fellow Bulldog teammate, as well as a UGA staffer. Here’s more.

In a public announcement, ACCPD said they determined the Georgia Bulldogs teammates were drag racing on busy roads and Chandler LeCroy’s Ford Expedition was traveling at 104 miles per hour before the fatal crash.

Furthermore, LeCroy’s blood alcohol level (BAC) was determined to be .197 at the time of the crash.

Police used surveillance video of the crash and according to AJC, they “had reason to suspect almost from the moment of the crash that other cars had been at the scene, and they soon learned at least two of those vehicles were driven by Georgia football players.”

Earlier reports from draft analyst Todd McShay began to resurface after the news was made public, as he’d previously questioned Jalen Carter’s character.

Now, an even larger microscope is on the linebacker.

Not only will he deal with the legal repercussions of the accident, as he’s been charged with a pair of misdemeanors, but his draft stock could take a hit as April approaches.

Previous mock drafts predicted that Carter would land somewhere in the top 10, with most believing he’d go as early as top five. There were reports that the Bears, who hold the first overall selection, could trade back in an attempt to pick up draft capital from a team in search of a quarterback, but only if a top defender would be available.

Most experts believed that either Carter or Alabama linebacker Will Anderson were their top targets.

Now, though, that strategy could be out the window. A story from Horseshoe Huddle, a site following the Indianapolis Colts, shows just how the Jalen Carter story could impact draft outlook.

If Carter is off the Bears’ board, they may be more reluctant to trade out of the top-three spots in the Draft. The Houston Texans are almost guaranteed to take a quarterback with the No. 2 pick, but the Arizona Cardinals would snatch up Will Anderson at No. 3.

Chicago wants to pick up extra draft picks, but the deal would have to be stronger if it meant they didn’t get one of the draft’s premier defenders, Carter or Anderson, as part of the deal.

The article states that the recent arrest warrant could take Jalen Carter off of Chicago’s draft board. In doing so, it would eliminate one of their two top targets.

The Cardinals, who likely aren’t in search for a quarterback, could end up taking Will Anderson at No. 3.

That would all but eliminate the Bears’ desire to trade the top overall pick. That domino effect would then impact the quarterback-needy teams remaining in the top 10.

So, one of two scenarios could wind up happening. The Bears do the sure thing and take Will Anderson with the first overall pick, or they ask for even more draft capital from a trade partner in order to make up for the potential of missing out on both Anderson and Carter.

Time will tell how it all plays out.